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Late 19th century food scientists examined meat doneness, offering temperature/time recommendations according to type of meat, cut, and method of cooking. Meat thermometers (1930s) took the guesswork out of judging doneness. When today we ask for our steak well done, medium or rare, we are repeating a choice that the Renaissance writers revived from Hippocratic writings.

Like their 17th century predecessors, early 20th cooking texts warn against rare meat. Black and blue (aka "Pittsburgh style" steak surfaces in print in the 1970s. In 1626 Pierre Duchatel noted the physical reactions to be expected from meat prepared in each of the thre ways '(1)...well-Boiled meat is suitable to the digestion. (2)...those meats that have been medium boiled or medium roasted add moderately to vigor and digestion.

That medieval French cooks too this warning seriously and rarely roasted their beef is evident in the large stocks of beef bouillon that our recipes imply was always on hand for ready use in other preparations." ---Early French Cookery: Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations, D.

If the ignorant cook were to subject beef to a roasting, so further drying its already dry nature, this could be quite dangerous to the unfortunate person who was to eat it later, and could even put him or her at risk of an attack of melancholia or a bilous upset.

The texture of raw meat is a kindk of slick, resistant mushiness.

The fluid release is at its maximum when the meat is only lightly cooked, or done 'rare.' As the temperature increases and the meat dries out, physical change gives way to chemical change, and to the development of armo as cell molecules break apart and recombine with each other to form new molecules that not only smell meaty, but also fruity and floral, nutty and grassy (esters, ketones, aldehydes)...

Roasting, the application of direct heat at close proximity, was appropriate for a cold, moist meat such as pork because the open fire would warm and dry.

167 Coole endiffe, radish, new egs rosted reare, And late-prest cheese; which earthen dishes beare. Ovid Baucis & Philemon in Fables 159 New-laid Eggs, which Baucis busie Care Turn'd by a gentle Fire, and roasted rear. Recipes for hours-long braising or stewing were developed for mature animals with substantially cross-linked collagen that took a long time to dissolve into gelatin.

Fat coats and lubricates meat fibers during cooking, and stimulates the flow of saliva and creates the sensation of juiciness no matter hwo dry the meat fibers themselves have become.

147-151) "Many traditional meat recipes were developed at a time when meats came from mature, fatty animals, and so were fairly tolerant of overcooking.

Tough cuts are best heated for a prolonged period at temperatures approaching the boil, usually by stewing, braising, or slow-roasting." ---On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of The Kitchen, Harold Mc Gee, completely revised and updated [Scribner: New York] 2004 (p.

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